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There is a short list of amenities that are incredibly cheap, but offer huge value to your guests! I'm always looking for great ways to get a bigger bang for my buck-- when someone is traveling there are a few things that make all the difference to them.
A few things on that list is offering:
towels and linens
map of your city
television in livingroom
Keep in mind, people who stay in your space have similar expectations as those they would a hotel room: they are holding you to hotel standards. Even if you try to manage expectations in your discription, people have come to expect certain amenities.
Also a quick note on how Airbnb lists amenities: everything you don't check-off, has a strikethrough on your listing. This makes it very clear what you are not offering.
I always have extra sheet sets and towels on hand. It is always best to have extra, than not enough. These are also items I use myself-- I don't have designated guest sheets or towels. Whatever is clean and fits the bed is the perfect set of sheets for that guest. That being said, it is best to invest a bit in these items and have them be a neutral color: white is always advised. They go through a beating with repeated washings and you want them to hold up. Otherwise you will be spending more money and time to replace them, then if you spent a couple extra dollars initially. Also a higher thread count sheet set will look "cleaner," they will look less wrinkly and feel luxurious to your guests. Decorative throw pillow go a long way to add character to the room. Seems silly, but these are extra touches that really add that special "something" that sets you apart.
Something I personally always notice is if the bed is comfortable. Traveling through Asia the beds are predominately hard-- I think it promotes good health. But when I came across one that felt like a dream, I remembered that sleeping experience with a smile. Buying a new mattress may not be in your budget, but if guests complain you certainly need to do something. I suggest you look at pillow-top bed covers or adding a layer of foam. These extra layers will add nice cushion and also protect your mattress.
I think having a basket of toiletries in the bathroom is the niftiest thing! I really enjoy arranging it before each group arrives. It's honestly nothing special, I purchased whatever cheap bathroom products I can find at the store; bulk is also great! I like to include shampoo, conditioner, toothbrush, toothpaste, bar soap, disposable razor, q-tips, hairdryer and feminine products.
This basket is an ever changing kaleidoscope of goodies, depending on what I have to restock. It was amazing how many guests leave obviously unopened bathroom products. For example, they purchase a package of six soap bars and only use one during their three night stay-- they leave the five remaining, fully wrapped, soap bars by the sink. Bam! That soap will eventually find it's way into the basket. Also, this is where I keep the first aid kit.
When thinking about additional expenses, not every group will make use of this basket. Some will just use the shampoo, while others will absolutely devastate the toiletries, like they just found the last cheap toothbrush on this Earth. I find it averages out. I also don't replenish the basket of goodies during the guest's stay. To me the small additional expense is worth it.
Having a pantry and a few food items available to your guests when they arrive is huge. Especially having a few easy breakfast items on hand. I don't make breakfast for my guests-- I'm not there to cook. No. Instead I have some dry cereal and milk on hand and they can help themselves. We eat a lot of eggs and fruit so those are things we always have.
I know some hosts have issues with guests freely helping themselves to their food items, this feels horrible. I'm a huge fan of labeling things. For example, choose one cupboard for your special items and label that as the host's, you can do the same in the fridge. Also include this in your house guidebook and tour when they first check-in.
Honestly, we don't cook too much at home--mainly breakfast. We also primarily rent out our full space. So we try to use most our food items up in preparation for out guests arrival. It makes room in the fridge and it looks cleaner. When we return to our house, days later, we go food shopping. Easy as pie!
Alam clocks are cheap and a one time purchase. Many people use their phones as bedside alarms now, although some people do not.
Arriving in a new city can feel a little daunting. Having a map of your area is a great way to orient your guest! Recently, when we checked into a new space as guests, we were handed a printed out map (nothing fancy) and given a handwritten tour of the city. We were advised where the best restaurants and bars were, along where to buy special local goodies. It was great and memorable! I would have all this prepared, maybe create your own map and have a bunch printed out. Of course mark your own space on the map.
Bottled drinking water is not always something you think about. We have hosted in an area where you shouldn't drink the water out of the facet. We regularly purchased large jugs of purified water, to have an additional jug on hand for a guest's arrival was not challenging. Having a water filter on the facet is great as well!
I also suggest having a television in the common space. Even if you don't watch TV, other people do and virtually every hotel room has one-- I believe there's a reason for that! A good sized, flat-screen television can be purchased for reasonable cost. It will put you out a few hundred dollars initially, but you really need to think of the return. You would be able to bump up your nightly rate and make a higher profit in the long run. I'm certainly not saying run out and purchase a TV for every bedroom, that's great if you do, but having one in the common area is perfect.
Lastly, I would have wifi available throughout the house. I feel this is a given for me personally, considering how much I use it around the house. If you don't currently have wifi, I would speak to your internet provider or purchase a router. It may not be possible for you, or you may not choose to offer internet. I would think about the bookings you would loose by not offering wifi, or at the very least internet.
There's of course a whole world or additional amenities that you could offer your guests. These are just a few cheap goodies that I feel are game changers. Take what you can can from this and have lots of guests!
Ashley Parent is an AirBnB host and instigates the magic at http://blissylife.com
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